[R74] Ellpermann Edition: Moving Towards the End of Session (2/24/2012)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Start Date: 2/24/2012
End Date: 2/24/2012

It is anticipated that the General Assembly will end March 9, a few days before the mandatory March 14 deadline.  As such, virtually all committees completed their work this week.  All Senate bills will be through third readings (final vote) on Wednesday in the House.  This is followed by a 10 day Conference Committee time where bills which were amended in the other chamber must be reconciled or killed.  I have two bills which have now made it through both sides and believe will make it through concurrence: House Bill (HB) 1312, Poultry Sale at Farmers Markets, and HB 1173, IOSHA matters.  A third bill, HB 1214 Economic Development Incentives, hit a snag in Senate Tax Committee and is being held.  There is some hope it might get absorbed into another bill….all part of the “sausage making” at the Statehouse.

A bill that would help Hoosier communities by significantly enhancing the Historic Preservation Tax Credit (HPTC) is also making progress. HB 1111 would make the HPTC more viable for rural communities and would help reinvigorate downtown areas. The bill would increase the annual statewide limit for HPTC from $450,000 to $2 million and requires that at least 25 percent of the available credit be used on projects that do not exceed $500,000. It would also ensure that no project can receive more than 20 percent of the annual statewide cap.

Currently, the HPTC program is not reaching its full potential because it is too small and underfunded. Also, the program’s current structure overly favors large urban areas.

The enactment of this bill would give a boost to rural communities across the state and especially southwest Indiana. The credit would apply to the preservation or rehabilitation of historic commercial properties that have been vacant for at least one year. It is often the case that vacant and underused buildings present some of the biggest challenges and biggest opportunities in historic downtowns throughout the state. HB 1111 would give communities a tool for turning those building around.

Thank you for your continued support as we work to solve issues that affect our communities. Have a wonderful weekend.

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Ellspermann Edition, Moving Towards End of Session, 2-24-12.doc